Getting to know someone takes time. But more than time, it takes asking the right questions, and spending enough quality time with a person. The duration of a relationship isn’t nearly as important as the quality of time spent within a relationship. I’ve written before about the three date rule and how you should give promising situations a chance after about three dates and to close all other doors when it comes to dating others. I’ve also written about the importance of being exclusive at a certain point in order to give things a genuine chance. In this article, I wanted to write about how imperative it is to have an exclusive relationship before marriage.
Taking the next step in life and getting engaged to someone is a huge deal, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It seems that these days so many people throw out the words I love you and I want to marry you so frequently, at least from what I’ve seen. But those things are said many times in order to, how do I put this “get in someone’s pants.” I’m sure that I could’ve said that in a different way, but hey, reality speaks for itself and this is many times a motive of people. It’s unfortunate that many people tell others what they think they’d need to hear in order to get what they want. Mind games are very cruel to play and they can cause a lot of damage which is beyond unnecessary.
How Long Should You Be in a Relationship Before Getting Engaged?
So now that we’ve covered the fact that exploring an exclusive relationship with a person before taking the next step is so important, there’s the question of how long should someone be exclusive first. It’s not about the duration of a couple’s relationship, but more so, the quality of time spent with one another. It’s about asking the right types of questions and seeing how you both act and respond in an argument, how you are when or if you travel together, or even for the little things like having a bad day here and there and how you both handle it. It’s important to see how one another would react during hard times, and not only during those happy “honeymoon” types of times.
Having enough dating time before being exclusive is something that’s up to each individual and couple, so I can’t tell you exactly how long I feel that a couple should date before being in an exclusive relationship. That definitely depends on the person and the couple. But I feel that it mostly depends on the amount of quality time that you’re spending with one another, as well as how compatible you are.
Being exclusive with someone in a relationship is so important before taking the next step towards marriage. You can’t expect to truly know someone if you’re not going to give them a taste of what it would be like in a relationship with them. That is, one where you’re not dating other people. Exclusive relationships are important because they’re supposed to be used kind of like an example or a test ride of what your future with the person could be like. Assuming of course that your intention is marriage. For all others that are looking for something else, this rule does not apply. But when you truly hoping to find a lifelong partner, and one that you can share a fulfilled life with including marriage, and possibly having children together, being exclusive first is crucial.
Being in an exclusive relationship doesn’t have to be for a long duration before you get married. I’m not one of those people that has a six-month or even a one year rule, where you need to be in an exclusive relationship before getting engaged. But what you should do is spend a lot of quality time with the person despite the duration that you’re together, and ask a lot of questions. Make sure that you both ultimately want the same things in your future, and make sure that you’re truly compatible.
As well, you should also make sure that exterior things like beauty aren’t the real reasons for why you’re with a person. As well as beauty, you shouldn’t be with someone for the wrong reasons like money, power, prestige, financial security, or so that you won’t be alone. Did I mention the fact that you should never be with someone because “you’re used to them.” That’s obviously a rhetorical question, because you should be with someone because you’re in love with them, and never because you’re used to them.
Believe it or not, duration doesn’t play as big of a role in relationships before marriage as one might think. At least from my experience of talking with others, because many times people are in ten, twenty, or even thirty-year marriages, and then their spouse cheats on them or they find out something about their partner that they shockingly never knew. You can’t really predict things changing, a person changing, or wanting different things down the line because we all grow and change in life.
Rushing to the Altar
Couples should definitely explore an exclusive relationship with one another before getting married, because it will give them a better taste of what a life together will be like. Many times people rush, whether it’s because of their biological clock ticking, wanting to have kids quickly, age being a factor, because someone puts pressure on them, or for many other reasons as well. Despite what a person’s reason is or for that matter, even if the couple agrees with one another, despite with the couple’s reasons are for wanting to go quicker and avoid the whole relationship thing all together before marriage, I’d have to strongly disagree with that method.
Once someone taught me this method of life, and now I use it as my own.
They said that everything good in life comes gradually, and circular. Everything that’s square or with sharp edges and two quick is more painful. Don’t get me wrong, because ripping a Band-Aid off is something that either you like to rip off quickly or you’d prefer to pull it off slowly in order to prevent pain. However, we’re not talking about a Band-Aid here. When it comes to being exclusive before marriage, if you choose to jump into marrying another person before you know what they’re like in different situations, you could end up in a divorce. I don’t know about you, but divorce is the last thing I’d want.
For people that have been previously married, many times they’re even more careful or cautious before proposing or accepting the proposal of another. The last thing that anyone would want would be to have more than one divorce in their life. Especially, after knowing how difficult divorce can be for some people. But whether or not you’ve been married before, the same rule applies about exploring exclusive relationships before taking the next step.
Remember to Breathe and Enjoy Each Other
If you’re truly hoping to spend the rest of your life with someone, then time shouldn’t have to be such a factor. Time altogether is a questionable thing in life. Just explore an exclusive relationship first, and imagine that your life with one another has already begun. Listen to the song and read the lyrics of Karen Carpenter, and take a deep breath. There’s no need to add so much pressure to your partner or yourself before walking down the line to get married quicker just to “start your life together” as soon as possible. It’s either going to happen or it’s not.
If you really love another person, then you should put some love into a relationship with them before marriage. Exclusive relationships involve putting effort, time, and love into getting to know a person. If you’re truly hoping to take things to the next level with someone at a quicker pace, then you should make sure that you truly know a person to a certain extent first.
The point is to have the type of marriage where you’re one another’s best friend, and where you’re so compatible that you truly enjoy spending time with one another. You should marry your best friend, a partner for life, and someone that you know you’re able to be in a relationship with without it adding misery to your life. If you’re in a relationship and things start to go sour, then you need to find out why, and either fix the issues by communicating with your partner, or just end things if it’s not worth it to you.
Either way, getting to know a person before taking the next step is something that we should all do. It’s just like Phil Collins one said, “You can’t hurry love.” Give things a genuine shot if you love someone enough, and explore an exclusive relationship with them in the right manner where you ask the right questions, spend enough quality time, and last but not least, remember to have fun together.
Having fun with your partner is something that’s either there or it isn’t, and I feel that it’s a mandatory quality and a definite must have in every relationship. If you’re not able to have fun and laugh with your partner in a relationship, then you should never take the next step. Life is about feeling happy. Marriage is something that should bring more happiness into your life, not less.
A good marriage can bring an immense amount of happiness when you’re with the right person, and when you’re both willing to give it your all. So take the time to get to know your partner to the point where they literally become your best friend, as well as your boyfriend or girlfriend. Then, and only then, once you feel that you’re truly compatible with one another and you can’t imagine not being with the person for the rest of your life, at that point, take the next step.